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SAY WHAT: 'WE HAVE TO BE SHARP'

A rundown of some of the key storylines prior to tonight's game against the defending Cup champs

by RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick / CalgaryFlames.com

 

TRAVIS HAMONIC ON COMING OUT OF THE BREAK:

"It was a good chance to rejuvenate and step back from the game, re-energize, re-focus and get ready for a really important push. It's obviously really tight in the standings, and we've got a good schedule of playoff-brand hockey the rest of the way. It starts tonight - we've got the defending champs coming in and they're one of the best teams in the league. It's an important test right off the hop and we've got to get on our game right away."

 

Video: "We have an important test right off the hop"

 

MARK GIORDANO ON FACING THE CUP CHAMPS:

"They've been on quite a roll for the past year and a half, I would say. They play the right way and they have a lot of talent, but they don't cheat the game. They play the right way and they wait for their chances, and when they get them, they have the guys that can finish. It's a great opponent for us to play coming out of the break. We have to be on top of our game, we have to be sharp, and we can't feed any transition or anything like that because they're so good at that."

 

Video: "We've got to get into a playoff mindset"

 

JOHNNY GAUDREAU ON HAVING DEREK RYAN ON HIS LINE:

"He's a smart player. Obviously. great defensively and he's gotten some good offensive ability. He can make plays, so I think he'll fit well with us tonight."

 

GAUDREAU ON BUDDY ROBINSON'S FLAMES DEBUT:

"We've been friends for a long, long time. He's been working hard and has been in the American League for a while now, but he got his chance today and I think he's going to play well tonight. I'm really happy for him."

 

Video: "Going to be exciting here in the second half"

 

GAUDREAU ON TIGHT PLAYOFF RACE:

"You can tell right away. Looking at the standings, you're one, two, three points away from being out of the playoffs to being first in our division. Every game's important and we've got to look forward to that every day. ... It's fun. This is why you play hockey, games like this. I know we've got 32 left, but tonight is a huge game for us, just like the last five or 10 will be for us. It's going to be an exciting time."

 

BUDDY ROBINSON ON FIRST NHL GAME SINCE 2016:

"Being a competitor, you never want to settle for playing in a league below. The confidence I've had in myself, the support from family and friends, and knowing that my game could translate to the NHL level one day, I never stopped believing. You see a guy go up and have some success - like Rhino (Zac Rinaldo) did, and stuck earlier this year - it gives you some extra motivation that it can happen and you're not just down there wasting time. … You come up here, make a name for yourself and show you can play at this level, and who knows what can happen, right?"

 

Video: Chatting with recent call-up, who will play tonight

 

GEOFF WARD ON TREND SINCE LAST MEETING WITH STL:

(The team held a players-only meeting after a 5-0 loss)

"Since that meeting, I think our team has become a lot tighter with our chemistry, number one. That's really been evident. Our team has become better defensively and we're giving up a lot less from the slot than we were before. Early, we saw the offensive aspect of our game increase - and that's always an area that we can be better at - but we certainly saw some improvements there. There are a lot of areas of our game that we've liked coming out of that meeting. Our players felt that they needed to be more accountable to each other, and the fact that they actually went out and did it, is a real good sign for us. You always talk about players being able to deal with each other on two different levels. It's one thing to be a tight team and like each other, but it's a totally other thing to be able to talk to each other about what you need from each other as players. Sometimes those conversations aren't easy conversations, but we reacted positively to a hard meeting like that as a group of players is a real good sign for us."

 

Video: "We have to stay patient"

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